Seeing Is Believing with Dental Health Products and Services

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How distributor reps can show the value of pet dental health products and services to their veterinary practice customers.

Are your customers missing out on 60% or more of income potential for their practice? If they’re not fully invested in effective products and services for pet dental health, they may be.

That was one of several takeaways from the recent Veterinary Advantage podcast with Dr. Jan Bellows, a multi-board certified dentist who practices in Westin, Florida. Bellows has appeared on Good Morning America, cared for lions and tigers at Disney World, and authored four textbooks.


Bellows said one of the most overlooked parts of offering effective dental care is whether the veterinary practice has invested in equipment for taking dental X-rays. Distributor reps should first ask the veterinarian if they do any intraoral dental X-rays. “If they say no, tell them that they’re missing 60% of disease, and probably 60% or more of the income that they could be producing for their hospital if they don’t have dental X-rays,” said Bellows.

Bellows listed several advantages of dental x-rays. They’re affordable to purchase, easy to take and veterinarians can charge for it. “And, the return on investment is within six months. There are very few pieces of equipment where you can get such a return on investment.”

Educating clients

Pet dental health presents a tremendous clinical and revenue-generating opportunity for veterinary practices. That’s because by the age of 3 years old, 80% of dogs and cats will have active dental disease that should be immediately treated, Bellows said. Clients don’t appreciate the fact that their pet has dental disease. The teeth and gums are hiding below the lips, so clients don’t often get a chance to see that the disease is there.

Distributor reps can help their veterinary practices with that as well by recommending products such as Dechra’s BlueLight, which will help to identify plaque and calculus on the teeth. “All the veterinarian has to do is dim the lights in the room, turn on the BlueLight and show the client what is abnormal,” said Bellows. “This light helps to educate the client that the pet does need immediate care.”

February was Pet Dental Health Month, but now is still a great window to discuss dental solutions for the veterinary practice.

To listen to the full podcast, visit vet-advantage.com/podcasts.

AVMA reminds pet owners about the importance of oral health

David Thill, editor of Veterinary Advantage’s Weekly News

Most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease by the age of 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental College. But even though daily tooth brushing is advised for dogs and cats, research shows that only 2% of dog owners actually do it. And a survey of pet owners found that only 14% of dogs and 9% of cats receive dental care at the vet’s office, the AVMA said.

The organization has a website dedicated to dental health that pet owners can refer to so they can learn about oral health and the signs they should look out for to know if their pet might be in need of dental care – things like bad breath, discolored teeth or reduced appetite.

“Regular dental exams are important to a pet’s overall health and can help prevent more serious health problems,” said Dr. John Howe, AVMA president. “It is important to have your pet’s teeth and gums checked by a veterinarian at least once a year for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy.”

For more information, visit avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/pet-dental-care.